Scan it all!

I’m tired of looking at paper. My compulsion to keep paper forced me to take steps.

I picked up a HP 4670 scanner (I would link but it goes to HP’s online store) and Paperport1 document management software. I don’t need complex management, so Paperport’s nested folder organization works well. All the documents get scanned into PDFs. Paperport supports creating searchable PDF documents if you use their Omnipage OCR software. I don’t need that yet, but that will be a worthwhile investment; then Google desktop can index my PDFs along with other files and email.

In a week I’ve scanned over 350 documents. Current documents, all incoming bills, statements, what have you, get scanned. Then they go into a rotating twelve-month file. Things such as current auto and renter’s policies, lease agreements, and open credit such as my Altima payment, are filed in a folder until they’re paid or expired.

Critical items, like tax returns and insurance policies are scanned and kept on file permanently. I think for IRS purposes you can destroy tax documents after three years.

Expired documents go into a hold file to be shredded after twelve months. All of my paid-off bills, and information from previous addresses will get scanned then shredded.

I’m excited - I hope to reduce a file cabinet, a filing box, two drawers of old paper, not to mention the several stacks of paper on my desk, to nothing.

Now I need to get an external drive to back up the documents.


  1. This broken link was removed on 2018-11-12: http://www.scansoft.com/paperport/standard/